Friday, January 20, 2017

Brussels Airlines considering Sarajevo, Banja Luka


Belgium's national carrier Brussels Airlines is considering launching flights between its hub and Bosnia and Herzegovina's two largest cities. Herman Carpentier, the ‎Vice President for Aeropolitical, Government & International Relations at Brussels Airlines, said the carrier is eying a potential Brussels - Sarajevo - Banja Luka service. The airline has requested for additional information and data from both airports before making a final decision, with Mr Carpenrier noting that Bosnia and Herzegovina's ongoing process to join the European Union will further boost demand for flights between the two countries. There is currently no service between the Bosnian capital and Brussels, with TUIfly Belgium to launch seasonal flights from Charleroi, which is some fifty kilometres from Brussels, to Sarajevo on March 31.

Brussels Airlines has a limited presence in the former Yugoslavia, with flights to Zagreb introduced in 2015. Last year, Andreas Weingartner, the carrier's General Manager for Central Europe, Balkans, Russia and Offline Europe, said, "The Balkan market is still relatively untapped and is new for us, but it certainly has growth potential. Initially, we always introduce flights to countries which are already members of the European Union. Zagreb has recently been added. On our flights from Vienna, we have many transfer passengers from the Balkans". In December 2016, the Lufthansa Group took a 100% stake in Brussels Airlines, in a deal to fully integrate the Belgian carrier into Lufthansa’s Eurowings Group in 2018.

Meanwhile, another Lufthansa Group member, Austrian Airlines, has ruled out the possibility of launching services to Banja Luka. The carrier previously served the city during the 1990s. Despite talks with the airport in 2014 over potential flights, Stefanie Zugmann, Austrian's ‎Manager for International & Aeropolitical Affairs, noted that the airline has made a list of priority markets and destinations for the future, with Banja Luka not included in the upper third. "We have to look at the potential of the market. Furthermore, we would need additional data from local sales agents. The size of the catchment area is important but is not the only indicator for the route's potential. We would also be very thankful for any sort of legal incentives we could be offered from the competent authorities", Ms Zugmann said, adding that every new route carries with it a financial risk. Banja Luka Airport has struggled to attract customers over the past few years and is currently served only by Air Serbia, which maintains three weekly flights from Belgrade.

90 comments:

  1. I think it would be smart to operate these flights with the routing they proposed. Banja Luka would bring 10 passengers each way which would ease the financial risk on BRU-SJJ sector. They could fly a triangle routing 2-3 times per week.

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    1. Not sure how profitable this would be. If they do start these flights it should operate with an Avro.

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    2. No Avro though. They are being entirely phased out this year. Also, the airline as the article says is being integrated into EW and their smallest aircraft will be an A319 from the middle of the year onwards. Maybe BRUSJJ with one of their leased Q8400s could work, if they will be still on lease this year. But BNX will be a catastrophe- I really can't see any market their for Brussels.

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    3. This might even work with an A319 but only twice per week and only if it is operated under Eurowings.

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    4. SN will be getting the SSJ from City Jet, they could use that.

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  2. Finally a flight to Brussels I hope it happens.

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  3. Likely under Eurowings umbrella.

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  4. Anyone know how they are doing on the Zagreb flights?

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    1. Jako dobar LF imaju za ZAG. SN je preuzeo veliki broj putnika od CA jer CA ima brutalno skupe karte za BRU

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    2. Doesn't OU send Dashes to BRU a lot? Or I might have mixed something up.

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    3. Yes, OU sends Dashes to BRU, with the exception of last summer when they introduced F100 (leased aircraft) several times a week (5 or 6 out of 11 rotations that OU does in total).

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    4. I was going through their website and I saw that a lot of flights to BRU will be operated by the F100. Did anyone here fly on it? I heard it's rather bad inside.

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    5. I travelled three times since last August with them ZAG-BRU (always A319) and flight was twice 100% full and once no more than five seats were empty.

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    6. I'm assuming their flights probably affected OU somewhat. Did OU always fly the Dash to Brussels or is that a recent change?

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    7. Brusseles uses A319, while OU uses F100 and Dash 8. Well, I would say F100 don't look too shiny, yet it's a solid plane. OS is still using it on most of its regional routes and will probably continue to do so for couple of seasons more...

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    8. I flew both LIS-ZAG and BRU-ZAG on that F100 last summer. It was a bit dated on the inside but nothing to complain about. Definitely more enjoyable than a 2h flight on Dash8 from BRU which is a standard OU equipment used on this route. Also, in my experience of BRU-ZAG flights on SN, their loads were always great, although I'm not a huge fan of their dates AVRO jets occasionally used on this route as well. Their A319s, on the other hand, always felt new(ish) and with OK legroom (slim recaro seats I'd say...)

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    9. Croatia Airlines lowered prices to Brussels significantly since SN introduced Zagreb. Don't forget that OU operates double daily flights to BRU and they are always full from my experience. Also SN's A319 tends to be full to Zagreb from what I have seen. But in the end of summer they downgraded the route to Avro, which was quite a bad experience- the aircraft was super old. I even preferred Croatia's Dash to that old bird!

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  5. It would make more sense to maybe fly Brussels - Sarajevo - Skopje. People would be surprised how little demand there is from ex-Yu countries that are not in the EU for Belgium. There are no flights from Bosnia or Montenegro to Brussels. In Serbia Wizz Air's Charleroi flights were their worst performing and they had to be cancelled. Air Serbia does ok on the route (much better than Jat which even made Brussels seasonal during its last year) because of the number of transfer passangers they carry on this route, almost all to Lebanon, although when fares are cheap there are even people to Greece and Abu Dhabi and also there seem to be a lot of people catching this flight from France, which I don't get since there is a flight from Paris. Wizz does fly from Skopje to Charleroi but just twice per week.

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    1. I travel BEG-CDG and BEG-BRU frequently, and while I can usually snatch a BEG-BRU ticket for less than 200 EUR, BEG-CDG is rarely under 350 EUR. A Thalys train between CDG and BRU can almost always be bought for less than 50 EUR one-way. That explains the difference.

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    2. I think their worst performing route out of Belgrade was Rome with an average load of about 60%. CRL was between 74% and 77%.

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    3. + 1 Sarajevo with Skopje would make much more sense in case they consider SJJ to be too much of risk for load factor reasons.

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  6. Austrian fishing for subsidies while bitching about them in Skopje even though BTS is not subsidized. Priceless.

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  7. They could also offer quite a few transfer options to the US.

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    1. Well only to JFK really. Their only other destination in the States is Washington DC and I doubt too many of the Balkan diaspora lives there

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    2. They also fly to Canada - Toronto.

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    3. You are forgetting that Sarajevo is so underserved from many part of Europe that people actually need to transfer from places like London and Paris to get to Sarajevo. This could be an option for that.

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    4. People from Sarajevo have flights to the Middle East and Turkey :)

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    5. Still missing flights to Rome, Frankfurt, Amsterdam...

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    6. Why JFK only? With SN, United and Air Canada you would have connections to Newark, Washington, Chicago and Montreal too. Which is quite good for the Balkan diaspora

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  8. OT According to schedule changes it seems that JU is going drop or drastically cut lines to IST, HAM and LCA, at least until W16 ends.

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    1. None are being "dropped" as you say. There are a few service reductions in February which they do each year.

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    2. Of course "drastically" cuts.

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    3. You are right,it used to be JU practice, but more than 50% of all flights at a line had never been cut. It would have been more sensible to stop flying for a month or two. I think this is wrong decision from commercial point of view.

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    4. Even OK is suspending ZAG in February. British Airways is reducing it to 4/week, KL reduced it from daily to six weekly... it's normal.

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    5. British and KLM reduce that on all winter time-table, not in February.

      So don't manipulate with data, please.

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    6. That's even worse then.

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    7. According to airserbia.com/timetable flights BEG-IST are missing on random bases for these dates in February : 4,7,9,11,13,14,15,17,20 and 22. Does that mean that 10 flights out of 22 are cancelled or this is airlines regular timetable ?

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    8. HAM is cancelled altogether in February.

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    9. It is not even worst because they shrink their winter frequencies. Just like JU did. Shrink most of their routes. But on top of that shrinking they cancel even those shrieked flights.

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  9. Sorry just don't see this happening. If Swiss failed on flights to Sarajevo I don't think Brussels Airlines can do any better.

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    1. Swiss will resume flights in March!

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    2. Again they couldn't make it year-round which doesn't bode well for this proposed BRU service.

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    3. We will see how TUI goes on Cherleroi-Sarajevo flights. It will be a good indication.

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  10. This would be a good start and a move in the right direction. While it is great for Sarajevo to have so many flights to Istanbul and potentially some more destinations in the Middle East it also needs destinations in the west.

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  11. Since it doesn't seem Wizz Air is coming with anything more than Budapest this would be good.

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  12. How did BNX get itself in such a sorry state? 15 year ago they had more international flights than today...

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    1. Mismanagement and corruption.

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    2. Aerodromi Republike Srpske is a nest of corruption. They even managed to get Edelweiss to cancel their planned flights to BNX. It is terrible.

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    3. Does anyone know why Edelweiss officially gave up on Banja Luka. Was it poor loads or they couldn't make an agreement with the airport?

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    4. Sales were probably poor and they planned to fly the A320 on the route, which is way too big.

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    5. BNX has been spinning in circles for almost 15 years. Bribery and corruption is unbelievably strong. And it seems a change isn't on the cards.

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    6. @ anon 11.00 or the airport did not want to create extra competition for Air Serbia so they turned Edelweiss away.

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    7. ^ Highly doubt it since they started selling tickets on the route before they suspended it.

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    8. BNX airport operator is entirely disorganised. Bribery and corruption at its best.

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    9. Greetings for the sore Wizz losers. Not everyone falls for your con pitch. Live with it!
      Btw, are blanket very serious accusation, with no single concrete fact, like some above spam or is it a genuine discussion?

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    10. Anon at 4:57 PM
      Straight to a doctor for a check-up.

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  13. "General Manager for Central Europe, Balkans, Russia and Offline Europe"
    what part of the continent exactly is "offline Europe"?
    Is it the part where there's no WiFi? ;)

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    1. Term offline is commonly used for a market that you don't serve directly with your aircraft, although here it is a bit funny since they covered most parts of Europe in the first part of the title.

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  14. Belgium is not a place with such a large ex-YU diaspora hence not so many flights + only Hrvatska and Slovenija are EU members so, maybe this explains. SJJ on the other hand is way too underestimated and needs many new destinations.

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  15. I will believe it when I see it.

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  16. They still don't fly to places like Sofia and Bucharest. I think there is a greater chance of them adding those cities than Sarajevo.

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    1. Yes, but the gap was already covered by Wizz and Ryanair. Both cities are served at least 3x per day.

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    2. Thanks. Do they both fly to Charleroi?

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    3. Plus EIN which covers a part of Belgium as well.

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    4. OTP: A total of 17 flights served by Wizz and Ryanair to CRL. Daily W6 and FR 10x pw
      BRU - 17 (12 Tarom) and (5 Blue Air)
      Total: 34 flights per week
      SOF: A total of 8 flights per week served by Wizz and Ryanair. 4pw W6 and 4pw FR.
      BRU - served daily by Bulgaria Air.
      Total: 15 flights per week. Maybe SN has more room to compete here.

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    5. Bulgaria air handles SOF-BRU for SN. I flew JFK-BRU-SOF with SN and Bulgaria air and there were quite a lot of transfers from UA and SN on the flight from the states. There were only 1-2 people originating in BRU.

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  17. Let's just say Banja Luka won't happen. :D

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  18. I would not be surprised if this happens. Sarajevo is Star Alliance territory.

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  19. I think Croatia Airlines could open Sarajevo-Brussels with a Dash 8 plane. Would work much better than Brussels Airlines with A319 and since both are Star Alliance you would still have transfer options.

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    1. We can safely say now that Croatia Airlines plans to set up bases in places like Saraje won't happen. At least not this summer.

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    2. Why not? It's only January. They could start flights in June and ticket sales in March.

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    3. OU could start with Brussels, Paris and Frankfurt. I still hope it happens., especially since Wizz Air won't be starting any new flights except for Budapest.

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    4. Actually it would make more sense if they started this in September or October. OU will need all the planes it can get this summer in Croatia and it doesn't look like they will be acquiring additional jets except for the F100 from Trade Air.

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    5. Ljudi moji, OU nema para, kako uopce moze otvarati bazu u Sarajevo kad nema dovoljno aviona za sezonu? Pa upravo su prodali slotove za London (ne sve, ali ipak, i to izgleda da su odgodili prodaju na jesen), a neki jos razmisljaju o bazama izvan Hr.

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    6. Pa ako prodaju jos koji LHR slot imace para da isfinansiraju ekspanziju koja je zlata vredna.

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    7. Morali bi se koncfmtrirati na ZAG, a ne imitirati JP. Na kraju krajeva to i zele voditelji aerodroma ZAG.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Kako sam ja procitao negde WX planira da leti sa 3 SSJ 100 za SN u ostalom i za VIE pa tako da ce biti mozda letiti i za EX YU .
      A za neke destinacije moze svasta da leti a za SJJ i pogotovu BNX se ne isplati vrlo zanimljiva teorija pojedinaca.
      INN-NS

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    1. Kako pisu mnoge novine LH i EY planiraju jos veci codeshare sporazum.
      Cak se pise o nekom udelu koji bi trebao biti malo veci a bilo bi zanimljivo onda bas videti dalji razvoj i ASL i ostalih kompanija u EY alijansi.
      INN-NS

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    2. LH I EY ce imati samo code share sporazum i to je to.Obe strane su negirale informacije o kupovini udela i ne brisi komentare svaki prokleti put.

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    3. Da tako je svaki put bilo nije ni jedna strana zaintresovana a na kraju dodje do kupovina.
      Naravno ne znaci to nista mozda ostane samo na code share sporazumu.
      Mozda bude neka sitna greska pa dodje do brisanja ali ne znam sto vam to toliko smeta.
      INN-NS

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  22. They also fly to Dubrovnik in the summer! So ZAG is not their only destination in Ex-YU.

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  23. Brussels - Skopje would make much more sense for Brussels Airlines. Big diaspora from Macedonia, Kosovo, South Serbia in Belgium, now covered by WizzAir which is anyway charging extortionate prices for Charleroi - Skopje (i.e. for Easter, it is cheaper to fly Austrian than Wizzair).

    Skopje- Brussels route would be used by transatlantic passengers that now use Vienna, or even AMS or FRA with stopover in ZAG, BEG, LJU.

    This would certainly increase demand for the route, take a chunk of the Vienna transfer passengers, and of course bypass the lack of direct connection to Amsterdam or Frankfurt for US and Canada bound flights.

    With the model that Brussels Airlines operates, a daily flight to Skopje would make a lot of sense.

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    1. Jet Airways flies from AMS.

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